Tesco opens new checkout-free store, ‘GetGo’

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Tesco has today (Tuesday 19 October) opened its first checkout-free store in central London, giving customers the opportunity to shop and pay without scanning a product or using a checkout. This new store trial, GetGo, offers customers the same Tesco products with a seamless shopping experience.

The rollout of this technology to Tesco Express High Holborn follows a successful trial at Tesco’s colleague store in Welwyn Garden City, which has been in place since 2019. Tesco Express High Holborn has been a cashless store since it first opened in 2018.

Our leading-edge technology means that customers with the Tesco.com app will be able to check-in to our store, pick up the groceries they need and walk straight out again without visiting a checkout. A combination of cameras and weight-sensors will establish what customers have picked up and charge them for products directly through the app when they leave the store. Tesco has partnered Trigo for the launch of this store.

There will be a section in the store specifically for age-restricted products, with a separate exit where colleagues will manually check ID verification.

As the first public GetGo store launched by Tesco, this new technology will create an even more convenient shopping experience for customers, saving time for those who want to pop in to pick up something for lunch or grab dinner on their way home.

Kevin Tindall, managing cirector, Tesco Convenience, said: “This is a really exciting moment for Tesco as we launch GetGo with customers. We are constantly looking for ways to improve the shopping experience and our latest innovation offers a seamless checkout for customers on the go, helping them to save a bit more time. This is currently just a one-store trial but we’re looking forward to seeing how our customers respond.”

Sachin Jangam, partner for retail, Infosys Consulting, said:  “Walk out stores are a natural progression of the changes we’ve already seen in retail. Stores have moved from all staffed tills to self-checkouts, and more recently, scan on the go. Considering the stages of this evolution so far, it’s clear that ‘just walk out’ will be the future.

“With Tesco opening its first checkout-free store later today,  it seems the transition to ‘just walk out’ models is being led by the Big 4. This is not surprising, given their ability to make significant technology investments, and sheer store format size and overall product density on the shelves. However, this model is far more suited to the high street convenience stores owned by the Big 4, rather than their large super stores.

“For now, the main clientele continues to be curious shoppers and tourists. The overall economics of store operations are still in question, given the reduced product range, high rental costs, and significant technology investments required. ‘Just walk out’ will likely remain in a trial period for the next few years, before we start to see mass rollouts. Beyond technology, leaders will be paying close attention to store profitability before putting money behind this innovation.”

Melissa Minkow, retail industry lead, CI&T, said: “Checkout-free stores present a model that could flip retail on its head, so it is interesting to see Tesco follow in the footsteps of Morrisons and Amazon in making this step. The checkout-free model seems to fit most comfortably into categories where customers rarely need advice, like grocery shopping and personal care, so it is no surprise that supermarkets are becoming early adopters.”

“For consumers, checkout-free indulges mission-based shopping – you can get in and out swiftly and avoid the browsing and queuing if you stick to your shopping list. At the same time, you are getting out of the house. It’s experiential, bridging the gap between social activity and digital convenience.” 

“When done correctly, checkout-free retail actually contributes to a richer shopping experience. This is because the model begins and ends with customer data. Whole new fields of customer insight and analytics can be opened up. It’s no longer a matter of just knowing what a customer has bought, but also how long they spent in the store and browsing what aisles.”